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heart, and begetting, preferving, and increasing faith there (as is daily experienced plentifully, bleffed be the Lord), is therefore called the word of faith, Rom. x. 8.
Thirdly, The pure fear, the holy fear, the heavenly fear, which is of a clean and heavenly nature, and endureth for ever, is alfo in this feed. The child-like fear is in the nature of the child; and the more it grows in the true child-like nature, the more it grows in this kindly fear, wherein there is no torment, but the pure pleasure of life, and of holy obedience to the Father of life. The child-like fear is a promife of the new covenant; and given to the children of the new covenant, by virtue of the new covenant; God putting it into their hearts from the feed of life fpringing up in them, which preferves them from departing from the Lord, Jer. xxxii. 40.
Fourthly, The pure divine love is in it. As this fprings, love to God fprings. As God is love, fo the feed that is of him partakes of love. There is no enmity in it, nor no enmity or ill-will fprings from it. This is it that makes it fo natural to the children of God to love; because they are born of that feed which came from the God of love, whofe nature is love. Oh! how daily is it found, by fweet and certain experience, that this feed (fpringing up) teacheth and enableth to love! And they that have this feed fpringing up in them, need not to be writ to, or outwardly taught to love with the brotherly love; for in it, and by it, and through it, they are taught of God to love one another. So that there needs nothing but the circumcifing of the heart, the purifying of the heart, through the obe dience of the truth, the cutting off of that fleshly mind, nature, will, and wisdom, which cannot love aright; and the pure love will spring up fully, towards the Lord, and towards the brethren, Deut. xxx. 6. 1 Peter i. 22. yea, it will be natural to love all; and that command of Chrift's will not be grievous; namely, to love enemies, even the greatest revilers, curfers, and perfecuters, Matt. v. 44.
Fifthly, The pure hope, the hope of the upright, the hope which makes not afhamed, the hope which goes within the veil, and is a fure and stedfast anchor there, staying the mind upon the Lord, who keeps fuch in perfect peace; this hope is contained in, and fpringeth from, the feed. For nothing but that which comes from God (from the holy feed of truth and righteousness), can stay the mind upon God. So that he that feels the feed, feels the hope; and keeping to the feed (to the holy root) to the end, the hope remains to the end. So the mind being turned to the light, being turned from Satan's power to God, being turned to Chrift, being turned to the appearance and voice of the word of life within, being turned from the feed of wickedness and darkness, to the holy and righteous feed of the kingdom, it is turned to the hope, it is turned to that which begets a true and right hope in the heart; which hopes in God's love, hopes in God's mercy, hopes in God's kind, tender, and faithful nature; and hath no confidence nor hope in the flesh, but in the holy and heavenly feed, and work of righteousness and of the kingdom; which is God's battle-axe and weapon
of war, whereby he brings down the flesh. This hope ftays the mind in every temptation, in every diftrefs, in every trial, in all the winds, ftorms, and waves of perfecution that it can be affaulted with. For in this feed the root of Jeffe is felt, the everlafting rock and foundation of life is felt; and here the God of hope fills his, that are gathered hither, and abide here, with all joy and peace in believing, that they may abound in hope, thro' the power of the Holy Ghoft, Rom. xv. 12, 13.
Sixthly, The true patience, which obtains the crown, which makes perfect and entire; fo that there is nothing wanting, where it hath its perfect work (Jam. i. 4.); the patience which enables quietly to fuffer any chastisement from God, or any affliction, or hard dealing from men, it is contained in, and given with, this feed. As God is patient, and long-fuffering, fo this feed is also. It is man that is of the brittle, fretful, impatient nature; but he that receiveth the Word of faith, the feed of faith, in it he receiveth faith and patience alfo: fo that to him it is not only given to believe, but to fuffer also for the fake of Chrift; and he that abides in the feed, and feels the feed remaining in him, and its nature prevailing, can never be impatient, whatsoever the Lord fuffers to befal him.
Seventhly, The Lamb's meeknefs is in it. Where fhould the Lamb's meeknefs be found, but in his Father's feed, or in the feed of his Father's. kingdom? Here the meek and quiet Spirit is received, witneffed, and enjoyed, which in the fight of God is of much price. This feed is fowed or begotten in the womb of the heavenly wifdom; and the meeknefs of wisdom, the true meekness of the true wisdom, is found in it. Here the ftill, foft, gentle, lamb-like nature grows up, wherein there is none of Efau's roughness.
Eighthly, Here poverty of Spirit, true poverty of Spirit, is witneffed. He is poor indeed who hath fold all, and hath nothing left him but this feed, and the appearance and help of God in this feed; which is not in his own hands neither, but in the will and difpofal of God.
Ninthly, Here mercifulness towards others is experienced: for he that is brought hither lives only by mercy; and he that lives by mercy, and is daily what he is by mercy, cannot but be merciful unto others.
Tenthly, Here the true mourning and lamenting after the Lord, and his precious life and prefence, and because of the prefence or power of that which hinders the growth of the feed, and the foul's union with, and enjoyment of, the Lord in it, is witneffed. For the true mourning, to which the bleffedness belongs, is of God, from the living fenfe that arifeth from his pure feed in the heart; and bleffed indeed are they that thus mourn, for they fhall be comforted..
Eleventhly, The true hungering and thirsting after righteousness arifeth from this feed. It is the feed of God, the birth of God, that which hath the fenfe of the excellency of his righteousness, that hungers and thirsts after his righteousness.
Twelfthly, The true fobriety, moderation, and temperance arifeth from this feed; and they that are joined to the feed, and are and act in the VOL. II. Hhhh
feed, eafily learn fuch fobriety, moderation, and temperance, as they that are out of it cannot poffibly learn.
Laftly, To name no more, the crofs which mortifies and ctucifies to the world and to fin, can only be taken up in the feed, or by virtue of the feed. Indeed the feed is a crofs; yea, enmity to the ferpent's nature, fpirit, and course; and he that takes it up, its will, its nature, its law of life, takes up the cross to the other nature, will, and the law of fin and death. So that fly the holy feed, and thou haft only a fhadow or appearance of the cross; but in a sense of, and subjection to the feed, the cross of our Lord Jefus Chrift is felt, working powerfully against fin, and the whole courfe of the evil and finful nature, effectually crucifying and fubduing it.
Fourthly, The fourth thing which is hid or wrapped up in the precious feed, which is the laft that remains to be mentioned by me at this time, is this; The new covenant, which God makes with the new Ifrael, by which he makes the heart new, and writes his law in it, and takes away the ftony heart, and heals all their backflidings, and loves them freely, and puts his Spirit within them, caufing them to walk in his ways, and to keep his ftatutes and judgments, and do them; even the holy agreement of the foul with God in Chrift Jefus, is in this feed.
God gave Chrift for a covenant, and the feed of grace and truth comes by Jefus Chrift; which is of his nature, of him the covenant; and all that receive this grace and truth from him, this holy feed of the kingdom, they receive the covenant; and they that walk in it, walk in the covenant.
Here, and here alone, the new creation in Chrift Jefus is known. Here, and here alone, the coming to God by Christ is truly understood and witneffed.
Here, and here alone, the law of the Spirit of life in Chrift Jefus is writ in the heart.
Keep here, thou never goeft out of the holy agreement with God and with Chrift; for in this grace and truth, in this feed of life, there is nothing that difagrees with them. Here thou liveft in the Spirit, walkeft in the Spirit, and doft not, canst not, fulfill the lufts of the flesh. There is nothing here that will either displease God, or lead thy foul afide from him; but here the Lord guides the feet of his faints, and teacheth all of them (from the least babe of them, to the highest growth), and puts his law of life and new obedience, and his holy Spirit, into their hearts, that none of their fteps may flide. Here the way of holiness, wherein God preferves his from erring, Ifa. xxxv. 8. is known and walked in. Yea, here Chrift is known and felt to be the way, the truth, and the life. The sheep that are gathered hither, and come hither, are returned to the Bishop and Shepherd of their fouls, who watcheth over them, and powerfully preferveth them, that they run aftray no more. For whither should they go, or whom fhould they hear, when they have found him, and know his voice, with whom are the words of eternal life?
I fhall conclude this head with that precious, fcripture, 1 Cor. i. 30. But of him are ye in Chrift Jefus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteoufnefs, and fanctification, and redemption. How are we of God in Chrift Jefus, but by this feed of God, by being born of the Spirit of God, by being begotten out of the spirit of the world, into the nature and Spirit of Chrift, from this immortal and incorruptible feed of life, truth, grace, and Spirit? And how do we put on Chrift, but by putting on this feed? And how do we grow up in Chrift, but by the growing up in this feed, and feeling this feed grow up in us? And here, in truth and demonstration of God's Spirit, we are formed in Chrift, and Chrift formed in us, as this feed groweth up into a form and shape in us, and we into a form and shape in it. Now we cannot receive this feed, but as we part with and deny our own. wisdom and fleshly confidence; and denying that, and crying to God for wisdom, God brings up the wifdom of the feed in us, and makes Chrift become unto us wifdom therein. And we cannot hunger after the true righteousness, the heavenly righteoufnefs, the righteoufnefs of our Lord, Jefus Chrift, but as we fee the loathfomeness of, and put off, our own righteousness; and then becoming naked, we are taught of God to buy white raiment of him, which is the righteoufnefs of the faints, and fo he becomes our righteousness, made fo of God to us.
And he is the purger and cleanser of fin and unholinefs out of our hearts and lives, and the holy leavener and fanctifier of our hearts; fo that we have nothing of holiness, but what we have of him and in him, And he is our redemption; our redemption is by him and through him, our redemption is wrought and preferved by him, and enjoyed in him; yea he is made of God unto us redemption. So that having him, we have redemption through his blood; yea, he is our redeemer and redemption for everAlas! what is it to get notions of these things into the outward comprehenfion! but to feel them livingly in the heart, is life and peace for evermore; and the knowledge of this feed of the kingdom, and of God and Chrift in this feed, is the most precious knowledge that can be defired, obtained, or enjoyed.
The Nature of this Seed.
HAT is the nature of the feed of God, or the feed of the kingdom? Anfw. Though the nature of it hath been largely fignified already, under the foregoing head (for the mentioning of what is wrapped up in it, abundantly fheweth its nature), yet I fhall speak a little more punc tually and exprefly of it in feveral particulars, according to the fcriptures, that the reader may have the more diftinct fenfe and inward apprehenfion of it, the Lord opening his heart in reading these things.
First, It is of an immortal, incorruptible nature, 1 Peter i. 23. It is a
feed that can never die in itself, though it may be as it were dead in man, or unto man, not putting forth any of its hidden life or virtue in the man that hath flain it as to himself; who having flain that whereby God gives life, is dead in trefpaffes and in fins, and cannot live any more, till God breathe upon and quicken this feed in him, and him by this feed. This is a great mystery. Doubtlefs the feed of life and godlinefs, wherein the life and godliness of the foul lies hid, muft needs be a great mystery, and cannot be known but as God reveals it.
Secondly, Its of a gathering nature. It is of the nature of a net, Matt. xiii. 47. It gathers out of that which is contrary to God, unto God. It gathers out of the world, out of the fea of wickedness, out of the kingdom of darkness, out of a man's own nature and spirit, into God's nature and Spirit, and his light and kingdom, wherein the foul fhould dwell, and walk, and be fubject, with God.
Thirdly, It is of a purging, cleansing nature. It is of the nature of fire, of the nature of water, inwardly and fpiritually. This feed is Spirit and life in a meafure; and by it, or by God's Spirit which dwells and is revealed in it, he washeth and purgeth away the filth of the daughter of Sion, and the blood of Jerufalem from the midft thereof. There is ftrength in this feed, and virtue in this feed, against all the strength of deceit and wickednefs in the other feed; and as it fprings up, and is received and joined to in the holy fear of the Lord, it prevails over it, and cafteth away its darknefs, and purgeth away and burneth up its filth, chaff, and corruption.
Fourthly, It is of a feafoning, leavening, fanctifying nature. It is like falt, it is like leaven. It feafons and leavens with life. It feasons and leavens with righteoufnefs. It feafons and leavens with the image of God. So foon as ever it fprings in the heart, it begins to leaven it; and if it be not fnibbed, or grieved, or hurt, or quenched (for it is of a moft fenfible tender nature), it will go on leavening more and more with the nature of truth, into the likeness of the God of truth. Mark ix. 50. Luke xiii. 21. Col. iv. 6.
Fifthly, It is of an enriching nature. It is a hidden treasure or pearl of great price. It makes the wife merchant very rich, who fells all for it, and buys the field and it. He that buys the truth, and will by no means fell or part with it, but gives up to it, and makes it his treasure, oh! how doth it enrich his heart with that which is holy and heavenly! How rich doth it make him towards God! Matt. xiii. 44. 46.
Sixthly, It is of an improving, growing nature, of a nature that will grow and may be improved. The one talent may be increafed into more. The little feed, like a grain of mustard-feed, will grow in the good ground beyond all herbs, and become a tree, a tree of righteousness of the Lord's planting, that he may be glorified, Matt. xiii. 31, 32. chap. xxv. 16. chap. viii. 23.